The seasons have shifted here on our little farm in the high desert of Washington State and that means whole grain sourdough bread baking is on the rise here on the farm.
Bread baking is something I’ve done for so long now that I almost forget what it’s like to be a beginner. But I know for a lot of you that’s not the case! There are more bread questions that hit my inbox than anything else (and that’s saying something.)
If you’re just here for the whole grain sourdough bread recipe, it’s directly below! And of course, if you’d like more information on our Cooking Community (I’ll send you a piece of my sourdough starter as a gift when you join!), you can do that right here.
(If you’d like a bit more info on fresh flour and wheat berries, keep reading below.)
Whole Grain Sourdough Bread with Sorgum
- 30 grams sourdough starter
- 120 grams all-purpose flour
- 130 grams warm water
- 2 tbsp sorgum or molasses
- 300 grams warm water
- 300 grams whole-grain flour
- 300 grams all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
To make the levain or ‘sponge’, combine the 30 grams sourdough starter (or 1/4 teaspoon yeast),120 grams of all-purpose flour, and 130 grams of warm water in a bowl with a lid or storage container. Mix completely and set aside (covered) for 3 hours to activate. Alternatively, you can use 1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast in place of the sourdough starter.
Once the levain is bubbly and activated, add in the sorgum and additional 300 grams of warm water. Stir to combine. If using yeast instead of sourdough starter, add an additional 1/4 teaspoon of yeast at this time.
Add in the whole grain flour, all purpose flour, and salt. Again, stir to completely combine. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes.
Dump the dough onto a gently floured surface. Use a dough scraper to fold the dough in on itself from each side. Place the bowl upside down over the dough and let it rest for another fifteen minutes. Repeat the dough scraping and rest again. Repeat once more. The dough will now begin to hold its shape.
Transfer the dough into a floured bowl with a lid (or cover) and let it rest at room temperature for 3-5 hours or until it’s grown in volume by about 50%.
Carefully scrape the dough back onto the work surface. Gently shape the dough by grabbing the edges of the dough and pressing them back into the center with your fingertips. Transfer the loaf to a heavily floured proofing basket. Cover the basket with plastic wrap and let proof at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat a Dutch Oven and its lid in a 475 degree oven for 1 hour.
When you’re ready to bake the bread, remove the Dutch Oven from the hot oven. Remove the lid. Carefully flip the proofing basket into the Dutch oven to transfer the bread in. Cut the top with a razor blade or sharp knife if desired. Replace the lid and bake the bread for 45 minutes.
Remove the Dutch Oven from the oven and remove the bread to a wire cooling rack. Let cool for at least an hour before slicing.
Let’s talk about fresh flour. Fresh flour makes such an incredible difference in the taste and texture of your homemade bread. Did you know flour has a smell? Oh it does. The sweet, sweet smell of bread in all it’s glory.
Over a decade ago, my friend Kate told me she had gotten into grinding wheat berries and I had no idea what she was talking about. Berries? What? Soft wheat? Hard wheat? Einkorn? What! It sounds more complicated than it is. Trust me – grinding, storing, and baking with your own freshly ground flour is really enjoyable and tasty.
Let’s start at the very beginning: wheat berries. These are the grain seeds that grow on the stalks of wheat. They come in a hull but in the process of harvesting the seeds, the husk is removed. What’s left is this pretty little grain.
The grain is called the ‘wheat berry’. We grind these wheat berries to make flour.
Flour can be left as is: which is whole grain flour. This means that the flour has the endosperm, bran, and germ intact. Or flour can have these removed: which is all-purpose flour. The problem with all purpose flour is that it eliminates a lot flavor, nutrients, minerals, and oils – whole grain flour has a greath depth of flair that we can miss out on!
Bran and germ was originally removed from the flour because it causes the flour to be more prone to rancidity because of these minerals and oils. So whole-grain flour is not ideal for storing long term.
But we WANT WHOLE GRAIN FLOUR! It’s rich in minerals and taste. Whole grain flour also has a lower glycemic index which means your body does sugar-spike when you eat it. I use einkorn for my whole grain flour almost exclusively, save for a few rye loaves I bake now and again.
Most grinders have a course and fine grind. I primarily do fine for bread and reserve the course grind for making breakfast cereals, etc.
Freshly ground flour is so flavorful and good! But to bake with it, remember one impotant rule:
WEIGH IT! DONT VOLUME MEASURE IT.
- Freshly ground flour has a lot of air in it and will not measure accordingly.
I like to grind flour as I need to use it, but if you want to grind once a week or such, make sure to store the extra flour with some bay leaves in it (pests) in the refrigerator.
In fact, store your extra wheat berries in the fridge too with bay leaves.
Now let’s make some bread!
When you’re baking with whole wheat, the bread is going to be denser. Accept it. Savor and enjoy it for what it is. I hope you enjoy the whole-grain sourdough bread.